Winter health

The colder months of the year is a great time for us to focus on our healthy eating and exercising routines. These habits will help us improve our immunity and keep us well over the winter season.

Here you will find recipes and tips for healthy eating, adding essential vitamins to your meals, increasing your hydration and exercise.

Recipes to share

If you are looking for new winter recipes or a place to connect with fellow foodies, we are inviting staff to share their favourite recipes. Email a Word or PDF document with your recipe and we will feature it below. Feel free to share photos of your culinary creations as well.

Fruits and vegetables are important!

An essential step to building immunity is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. They contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which can boost your immune system. Look for fruits and vegetables that are in season, such as apples, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, capsicum and potatoes. Soups, stews, casseroles and curries are great for boosting your fruit and vegetable intake. For example:

Iron and Zinc

Iron and zinc can be found in lean meats, poultry, seafood, dairy and wholegrains.

Zinc increases the production of white blood cells, which work to destroy invading bacteria and can assist in fighting infection. The current recommendations for zinc intake is 8mg/day for women and 11mg/day for men.

Iron is important for producing energy, optimising immune function and storing oxygen in our muscles. Good sources of iron include lean red meat, poultry, eggs and fortified breakfast cereals. Nutrition Australia’s recommended daily intake for iron is 18mg/day for women and 8mg/day for men.

Flavouring with garlic

Traditionally known as nature’s penicillin, garlic contains naturally occurring antibacterial properties that can give your immune system a boost.

Keep hydrated

Even when it’s cold out, you still need to drink 8-10 cups of fluid each day. Water is a major nutrient required by the body, accounting for around 60% of our body weight. The main roles of water include metabolism and transportation of nutrients, body temperature control, digestion, excretion of waste products, lubrication of joints and cartilage. Furthermore, water intake can also contribute to skin integrity and is one of the most important nutrients for maintaining clear, supple skin.

Whilst it might be surprising, during the winter months individuals can be substantially more at risk of dehydration than in the warmer months. The outcomes of even mild dehydration can include a loss of concentration, fatigue, weakness, irritability and constipation. Although it is commonly stated that two litres of water per day is the recommended amount, most individuals often need more, particularly those who exercise.

Don’t assume that you can only drink water to stay hydrated; tea, coffee (in limited amounts, particularly if you are caffeine-sensitive or iron deficient), broths and soups, vegetable juice (keep fruit juice to a minimum) can all help contribute to your fluid intake.

Enjoy some sunshine

The shorter days in winter mean we get less exposure to the sun, which can lead to a decrease in serotonin. This can affect our mood and we may be more inclined to reach for high-calorie comfort foods to make us feel better temporarily. Try spending some time outdoors on your lunch break.

Keep active

Rug up for a walk outside or try to increase incidental exercise by taking the stairs instead of the lift or parking further away from your destination.

Remember to relax

Be sure to get plenty of sleep and make time to relax. Try to have some ‘total relax’ time so you can improve your health with the good mood hormones (endorphins). Getting a good night’s sleep (6-8 hours is about right for most adults) is also important to recharge your immune system every day.